Emma Nutt became the first woman telephone operator on September 1, 1878. She loved the job, and worked at it for 33 years.
This Special Day
Celebrates the world of telephone operators. It was a very important job for many decades. Today, the position has been eliminated being replaced by automation in telephone systems. Can you imagine what Emma would think about today’s cell phone world!?
In January 1878, the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company had started hiring boys as telephone operators, starting with George Willard Croy. Boys had been very successful as telegraphy operators, but their attitude (lack of patience) and behavior (pranks and cursing) were unacceptable for live phone contact.
To be an operator, a woman had to be unmarried and between the ages of seventeen and twenty-six. She had to look prim and proper, and have arms long enough to reach the top of the tall telephone switchboard.